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Offbeat News

Batting for ballots: Imran Khan and other sports stars turned politicians

Islamabad - Imran Khan's anointment as Pakistan's new prime minister caps a more than two decade transformation from a World Cup winning cricket captain to a world leader, placing him in charge of a nuclear armed state.

Brazilian cops drop 'masculinity' requirement

S - Police candidates in southern Brazil are now free to get in touch with their softer side."Masculinity" has been dropped from the list of 72 required attributes for wannabe cops in the state of Parana. Also gone: a prohibition on falling in love.

Boat loving Italian MP resigns after absences row

Rome - An Italian sailing champion turned MP -- who justified frequent parliamentary absences by saying he could do politics from his boat -- announced his resignation Saturday, blaming a "media lynching".

Playing with history: Corsica's Playmobil homage to Napoleon

Ajaccio - Tucked away on a side street near the Corsican home where Napoleon Bonaparte was born, a mini museum invites young minds to relive the French emperor's story -- through scenes painstakingly built from hundreds of Playmobil figurines.

Grey is the new black: Turkmen autocrat ditches the dye

Ashgabat - The ruler of ex-Soviet Turkmenistan has ditched his signature black hair dye -- a move that will be closely analysed in a nation famed for its leadership personality cults.

China 'waterfall' skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

Bejing - A skyscraper in southwest China that boasts what its owner calls the world's largest man-made waterfall has become the latest example of over-the-top architecture to draw national ridicule.

Ruling from your home: Inside Australia's micronations boom

Sydney - Lounging on a sofa in his flowing robes, a gold crown resting on his snowy hair and a stuffed white toy tiger at his feet, Paul Delprat looks every bit a monarch.

China chili fest gets off to scorching start

Muziping - An annual chili pepper festival kicked off Monday in central China's spice-loving Hunan province with a chili-eating contest in which the winner set a blistering pace by downing a gut-busting 50 peppers in just over a minute.

Late boarding bid lands Ukrainian in Cyprus custody

Nicosia - Cyprus police arrested a Ukrainian on Wednesday after he scaled an airport security fence in a desperate bid to join his family on a flight despite missing the final boarding call.

Sex, sports and rock 'n' roll... Mexican election style

Mexico - From a semi-naked candidate's Tinder campaign to the heavy-metal rocker who says he wants to be Mexico's next president, here is a look at the lighter side of the country's elections this Sunday.

New head of 'space nation' aims for the stars

Vienna - It sounds appealing given the state of politics on Earth: a plan to launch a utopian "space nation" with the aim of transcending earthly divisions.

English Bulldog drools way to World's Ugliest Dog crown

Petaluma - With a lolling tongue and a propensity to drool, English Bulldog Zsa Zsa won best in show at World's Ugliest Dog competition in Petaluma, California.

Busted flush: Japan fans spark plumbing pinch in World Cup loo dash

Apo - Armchair Japan fans following their team's 2-1 World Cup win over Colombia risked triggering a plumbing disaster of biblical proportions when millions rushed to the toilet at half-time.

French fighter jets go quiet for school exams

Bordeaux - French students may be suffering one of the most stressful weeks of their young lives as they take their high school exams, but at least they won't be distracted by fighter jets.

Python selfie puts Indian forest ranger in tight spot

Kolkata - An India forestry ranger found himself in a bind after a python briefly strangled him while he posed for pictures with the giant snake.

Puigdemont v 'Pig Demont': Ex-Catalan leader squeals on ham brand

Barcelona - Former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has asked Spanish authorities to stop the sale of a brand of dry-cured ham called "Pig Demont" whose logo is a pig with a hairstyle and glasses similar to his.

Love-struck couple crosses globe taking wedding pics

S - Passersby cheered and cars honked as the couple in wedding clothes posed for pictures on the iconic Paulista Avenue of Brazil’s bustling economic hub Sao Paulo.

US triggers sniggers by 'reunifying' Singapore, Malaysia

Fpo - As the US prepared for a summit some hoped may bring peace to the long-divided Korean peninsula, Washington accidentally hinted at another unlikely reunion by listing Singapore as part of Malaysia.

Penka the cow spared death over crossing EU border

Sofia - Bulgarian authorities announced Monday that Penka, the cow who risked death by straying over the EU border, will not be put down after all.

Canadian anti-G7 protest thwarted by rogue balloon cam

La Malbaie - Canadian anti-G7 activists were on Friday reduced to appealing to authorities or bystanders to return their camera after they lost contact with a ballon deployed to hoist it aloft.

Salah's Iraqi lookalike dreams of football glory

Baghdad - With his black beard, curly hair and football shirt, Iraqi striker Hussein Ali is often mistaken for one of the world's top players: Egypt's Mohamed Salah.

Bonne chance! Frenchman bags second million-euro lottery win

Paris - A Frenchman has won a million euros twice in the last eighteen months on the same lottery, media reported Wednesday, a feat mathematicians said carried odds of around 16 trillion to one.

FBI agent's gun discharges during dance floor backflip

Los Angeles - Police are investigating an off-duty FBI agent's apparently accidental shooting of a man when the agent did a backflip at a Colorado night club, local media reported Sunday.

'Spain is full of Spanish people': Ousted PM Rajoy's gaffes

Madrid - Regardless of what Spaniards think of their ousted prime minister Mariano Rajoy's track record, they all agree on one thing -- his truisms and slips of the tongue are legendary.

Rare white bison born at Belgrade Zoo

Belgrade - One of the world's rarest animals -- a white bison -- has been born at Belgrade zoo, officials said.The calf, named Dusanka, was born on Monday and trotted around her enclosure in "good health", according to the zoo's veterinarian.

Beirut's dapper barber-on-a-bike offers curbside cuts

Beirut - Dressed in an old straw hat and navy suspenders, Abo Tawila pedals around a southern district of Beirut. A rare sight in modern-day Lebanon, the young barber-on-a-bike is looking for his next customer.

Now's the time: three bottles of 1774 vintage wine on sale in France

Strasbourg - Tucked away in a vaulted cellar of eastern France for eight generations, they may be the oldest bottles of wine available for purchase: three bottles of "Vin Jaune" (yellow wine) dating from 1774 which will go under the hammer on Saturday.

Work key to long life, says Mexican who may be world's oldest man

Juarez - You wouldn't know it watching him take care of his chickens on the family farm, but according to his birth certificate and official Mexican ID, Manuel Garcia Hernandez is 121 years old.

New Zealand's 'first bloke' fends off angry shark

Wellington - New Zealand's "first bloke" Clarke Gayford revealed Thursday how he fought off an angry shark with a pole while diving off Auckland.

Migrants in Mexico stage colorful anti-Trump protest

Tijuana - In Mexico, there is a particularly colorful insult reserved for the mother of someone who has deeply offended you.
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